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Caregivers’ Ratings of Access: Do Children with Special Health Care Needs Fare Better Under Fee-for-Service or Partially Capitated Managed Care?

Mitchell, Jean M. PhD*; Gaskin, Darrell J. PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.mlr.0000241047.99214.ed
Original Article

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate how enrollment in a partially capitated managed care (MC) option versus the fee-for-service (FFS) system affects caregivers’ ratings of dimensions of access to services among children with special health care needs (SHCN).

Subjects: The data were collected from telephone interviews during the summer and fall of 2002 with a random sample of 1088 caregivers of children with SHCN who qualified for Supplemental Security Income and therefore were enrolled the Medicaid program for children with SHCN in the District of Columbia.

Research Design: We used a 2-step procedure in which we first estimated plan choice and then constructed a selectivity correction to control for the potential selection bias linked to plan choice. We estimated the second stage equations predicting caregiver's ratings of dimensions of access as a function of the selectivity correction, the plan choice dummy variable and other exogenous variables.

Results: After controlling for the potential selection bias linked to plan choice and other confounding factors, we find that caregivers of children in FFS are significantly more likely than caregivers of children enrolled in the partially capitated MC plan to rate the following dimensions of access as either fair or poor: “access to specialists’ care” (P < 0.01), “access to emergency room care” (P < 0.01), “convenience of the doctor's office” (P < 0.01), and “waiting time between making the appointment actual visit” (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: We attribute these differences in caregivers’ ratings of dimensions of access that exist between partially capitated MC and FFS enrollees to case management and care coordination services along with higher fees paid for pediatrician's and specialists’ services available under MC option.

From the *Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Washington, DC; and †Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Supported by grant R01 HS 10912 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Reprints: Jean Mitchell, 3520 Prospect St. NW Suite 423, Washington, DC 20007. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.